As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice


Many of us used to read the newspaper daily. I’m not talking about reading it on

a computer screen or an electronic tablet, I’m talking about the good ol’, ink-riddled

newspaper, the one thrown on your doorstep by the paperboy or papergirl. The rubber

band would be pushed off the end of the paper and it would be unrolled to reveal the big

news story of the day on page one “above the fold.” Newspapers are not put together in a

haphazard fashion. There is a methodology in the arrangement of topical news as well as

the classified section.

My normal path through the newspaper would be, of course, the big stories of the

day and then on to the sports page. Sunday was the big day for the “Funny papers” and

I’d read almost every comic strip. If I was looking to purchase something such as a car

or bicycle, I’d turn to the sales pages and eventually to the classified pages, or as they

used to be called, the “Want ads.”

I found it interesting in what people were selling or swapping. There were

houses, cars, athletic equipment, bicycles, employment and much more. One day I saw

the heading of “Personal.” I wondered what “personal” meant, so I perused the listings.

What I found was a bunch of acronyms, which were very confusing. It was only after a

little study did I realize SWMISOSWF meant “Single white male in search of single

white female,” closely followed by other criteria such as age. All the different acronyms

would even put the military to shame, and there was no “legend” to explain what they

meant! It was confusing at best.

Churches need to get into the “Personal” ad business. In every newspaper

classified section, outside of every church, and on every web page, churches need to post

“I.S.O.S.F.G.” You might be totally confused just as I was when I first discovered the

personal ads. But if you apply a little common sense you’ll discover it stands for, “In

search of sinners, free gift!”

The churches mission from its very inception is to reach people for Christ. People

need to know the church is a place for everyone, as we are all sinners. Jesus did not bring

His message to the religious elite, those who snubbed Him at every turn. He brought it to

those who needed forgiveness the most, and in turn for them to spread the Good News.

So what is the “F.G.” to anyone who wants it? Oh, that my friend is the free gift

of eternal life. The healthy don’t need doctors and the self-righteous won’t answer the

church’s ad. But to those who realize their behaviors are contrary to God’s expectations

for us, His creation, there is a gift you can’t buy, can’t earn, and is free! Let’s verbally let

everyone know, churches everywhere are “I.S.O.S.F.G.”

  Mountainside Church · 301 Elcano Drive
Hot Springs Village · AR 71909

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